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maxheadroom007

Schools In Koh Samui

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Hello,

Can someone offer some advice please.

I need to enrole my children into school and have looked at Blue Water and Open Gates, can you advise which is better and why? My children are ages 12 and 13.

Many thanks.

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Would be interested too, I like bluewater for when my son is ready based purely on the facitilies & the fact that all teachers are with degrees & PCGE (or equivilant from western country) qualified. It also runs the Uk curriculum, which as a brit, is imprtant in case or relocating back to the UK when he is older.

Never heard of open gates but will take a look now.

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After looking at the Open gate website, Bluewater are winning on another issue, full disclosure of prices. Why does open gates not list their annual tutition fees? Makes me suspicious.

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I was a teacher on Samui although I wasn't at either school, I heard many good things about Bluewater but rarely very much about Open Gates. I think they only recently opened up a primary section and Blue Water in turn have only recently opened up a secondary. Blue Water was started by dissatisfied parents on the island, and I hear the PTA is still very strong (whether that is a good thing or not I don't know!). But their facilities are good and there are very good reports about the standard of teaching.

I would say though that following the British curriculum leaves little time for anything else and the one negative I have heard is from parents of mixed nationality children who would like their children to have a more bilingual education. The children will miss out on some aspects of Thai culture by being in an international school - there is so much that children learn at school besides the set lessons - respect for elders, Thai etiquette and the like will not be learnt as intesly as they would at a Thai school. Oonrak in Nathon is going to be opening a primary school next year (at present they are just a kindergarten). They are striving to provide a bilingual education within a Thai schooling system, but face challenges as well. One curriculum is enough to fill a timetable to trying to teach two similtaneously is always going to be problematic.

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mssabai,

You make a good point regarding the amount of Thai culture being taught at International schools and especially for mixed children.

Blue Water is having an Open Day on 7th July.

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presumably, half thai children would learn thai culture from their own home?

I know for me & my husband the prospect of "not" getting a thai style education is why we are prepared to pay such fees for a british curriculum based education :o

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Open Gates is by far the better school. Bluewater is NOT an international school, neither is Open Gates yet but they will be when their new campus is finished this fall. They will then be recognized and accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education. Also, Open Gates is the only school that offers the Cambridge IGCSE exams that can be used for admittance to university or to get a job. The closest place to take these exams other than Open Gates is Bangkok.

To be a true international school that is recognized by the Thai government, it has to meet literally hundreds of specifications. Size of classrooms, types of classrooms, curriculum, etc. Plus, you have to have at least 5 rai of land and Bluewater only has 3 rai. Also, Open Gates has classes from Nursery up to Year 11 while Bluewater can only teach up to Year 5. I think your children are too old to go to Bluewater and Bluewater cannot offer the IGCSE exams.

Read these articles that were in the Samui Express newspaper:

http://news.samuiexpress.net/index.php?opt...e&Itemid=88

http://www.opengates-samui.com/news/groundbreaking.html

They also are going to be offering a total of six languages starting in September:

http://www.opengates-samui.com/news/sixlanguages.html

They just hired a new school principal who has years and year of experience. He has run schools all over the world and used to work for Cambridge to certify schools and authorized them to give the IGCSE exams.

I've compared these two schools till I am blue in the face and Open Gates is really the only choice. Bluewater wants to claim it is an international school but the bottom line shows that it is not and the parents of the children going there are going to be disappointed. Open Gates does an excellent job academically and it shows by the fact that most of their students take their IGCSE exams at least a year or two earlier than normal. A 12 year old girl just took the exams!! Open Gates uses the UK curriculum as well. They celebrate and incorporate a lot of the Thai culture (Open Gates teaches 5 hours a week of Thai language and Bluewater does not).

If the OP compares the two schools (especially the fact that Open Gates is going to have a huge new purpose built school campus this fall) they will see the choice is clear. The owner of Bluewater only has his PGCE which is the bare minimum to teach and it is only an honorary one, he didn't have to attend school to get it.

I think just because the prices aren't on the website that it should cause any kind of suspicion.

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thanks for the information. I recall from the blue water website that the are seeking various accrediations so by the time we are ready (in the next 18 months) they may have these & I, of course, will be researching further closer ot he time but good to have some feedback.

do you know the approx prices of open gate?

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Open Gates is by far the better school. Bluewater is NOT an international school, neither is Open Gates yet but they will be when their new campus is finished this fall. They will then be recognized and accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education. Also, Open Gates is the only school that offers the Cambridge IGCSE exams that can be used for admittance to university or to get a job. The closest place to take these exams other than Open Gates is Bangkok.

To be a true international school that is recognized by the Thai government, it has to meet literally hundreds of specifications. Size of classrooms, types of classrooms, curriculum, etc. Plus, you have to have at least 5 rai of land and Bluewater only has 3 rai. Also, Open Gates has classes from Nursery up to Year 11 while Bluewater can only teach up to Year 5. I think your children are too old to go to Bluewater and Bluewater cannot offer the IGCSE exams.

Read these articles that were in the Samui Express newspaper:

http://news.samuiexpress.net/index.php?opt...e&Itemid=88

http://www.opengates-samui.com/news/groundbreaking.html

They also are going to be offering a total of six languages starting in September:

http://www.opengates-samui.com/news/sixlanguages.html

They just hired a new school principal who has years and year of experience. He has run schools all over the world and used to work for Cambridge to certify schools and authorized them to give the IGCSE exams.

I've compared these two schools till I am blue in the face and Open Gates is really the only choice. Bluewater wants to claim it is an international school but the bottom line shows that it is not and the parents of the children going there are going to be disappointed. Open Gates does an excellent job academically and it shows by the fact that most of their students take their IGCSE exams at least a year or two earlier than normal. A 12 year old girl just took the exams!! Open Gates uses the UK curriculum as well. They celebrate and incorporate a lot of the Thai culture (Open Gates teaches 5 hours a week of Thai language and Bluewater does not).

If the OP compares the two schools (especially the fact that Open Gates is going to have a huge new purpose built school campus this fall) they will see the choice is clear. The owner of Bluewater only has his PGCE which is the bare minimum to teach and it is only an honorary one, he didn't have to attend school to get it.

I think just because the prices aren't on the website that it should cause any kind of suspicion.

What are the qualifications of the teachers at Open Gates, I thought most of them are only TEFL taught? Is this correct? :o

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thanks for the information. I recall from the blue water website that the are seeking various accrediations so by the time we are ready (in the next 18 months) they may have these & I, of course, will be researching further closer ot he time but good to have some feedback.

do you know the approx prices of open gate?

I have been told they are 82,900 baht per term for a child in year 8, a bit more expensive than Blue Water

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I thought most of them are only TEFL taught? Is this correct?

this is what bothered me about open gate too. In bluewater all teachers are PGCE, which is what is required to become a teacher in the UK. I wouldn't feel happy about anyone teaching my child without this as a minimum.

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presumably, half thai children would learn thai culture from their own home?

Presumably, but not necessarily. The biggest complaints of Thai or Thai/farang parents that send their kids to an international school is that their children cannot read, write or speak the Thai language properly. And all international schools are mandated to have at least one hour of Thai per day.

I know for me & my husband the prospect of "not" getting a thai style education is why we are prepared to pay such fees for a british curriculum based education :o

Hear, hear. The requirements of the Thai Ministry of Education are very strict and extensive, but Oonrak has a great balance of real Thai and English teachers, I would expect that will continue at the primary school as well. There are plenty of bi-lingual schools in Bangkok, and the language mix is about 35-40% in English and rest in Thai. This seems to work well for kids growing up in Thailand.

I don't think either Blue Water or Open Gates are accredited international schools, they would be much more expensive if they were. The British system is fine I guess for britons, but other nationalities would be better served in the IB system.

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The biggest complaints of Thai or Thai/farang parents that send their kids to an international school is that their children cannot read, write or speak the Thai language properly.

IMO for any bi-lingual family, an element of home schooling has to be in effect to prevent these kind of issues. I planned on sending my son to thai school & then home school on extra subjects like english, world history etc if we had no other option but as I hope my son will eventually be able to go to a british university then the Uk curriculum at an international school is exactly what we were looking for.

Like a lot of immigrant or bi-cultural kids, he will have to endure extra tuition :o if needed in thai reading & writing skills as both langauges are already spoken, at home.

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The owner of Bluewater only has his PGCE which is the bare minimum to teach and it is only an honorary one, he didn't have to attend school to get it.

Does this owner also teach the kids? What about Open Gates' owner? I understand he is German so does that disqualify the school from teaching English? (of course not). I guess what I'm saying is that the teaching qualifications of the owner wouldn't mean much to me if I was looking at a school. Then again, I'm not a parent so maybe it is very important to you parents out there.

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To say that Open Gates is " by far the better School " is a little misleading based on my persoaal experiences of both. Granted Bluewater hasn't been open that long but i put my little one in the in January & she has come on marvelously & she is only 2 years & 5 months..All the Kids there seem excellently behaved & mannered too & the Teachers speak the " Queen's " English, i honeslty can't comment on their qualifications as i don't know about them as much as i still do..My Friends 2 Kids aged 10 & 11 attend Open Gates, to this day they still BOTH use the language of, & i quote from Saturday, " not look she " when attempting to say " don't look at her "...A big part of that is down to my Friend admittedly but at 10 & 11 ?? using that " Language " outside & presumably inside of School ?? I don't think so, Bluewater for me, even in it's infancy, all day long... :o

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The owner of Open Gates is German. He is a German lawyer with a doctorate in law. I would much rather have a very well educated person running a school and directing the teachers than a person who never even attended a university. How much respect can a teacher, who has given years of their life to schooling, give their boss if he didn't even have the motivation to finish college himself? I have met Dr. Claus many times and it only takes a few minutes of talking to him to realize that he is passionate about ensuring the highest levels of quality for his students.

All teachers at Open Gates have at least a four year university diploma. Many have master's degrees as well. It is at Bluewater where the minimum to teach is just a TEFL.

As far as the "not look she", I'm sure, as it was the case when I was in school, you have classroom language and then you have out of school (slang) language. I personally know many children that go to Open Gates or have gone and already graduated from Open Gates and their English is excellent, as is their worldly and general knowledge. As I said above, a 12 year old girl just passed her IGCSEs at Open Gates when the normal age for these tests is 16 years old and she is Thai. Many students leave Open Gates and go straight on to university.

Go to Bluewaters open house and double check these facts. Ask them when they are going to be recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education, ask about where the other 2 or 3 rai of land is that they need and all the other hundreds of standards that have to be met. Ask the owner about his own PGCE and how he obtained it and look at the facilities they have. Then go talk to OG and see what facilities their new campus will have, it will dwarf Bluewaters. Look on OG's website at all their teacher's and their qualifications.

These two school are like night and day and Bluewater's candles are getting very low.

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All teachers at Open Gates have at least a four year university diploma. Many have master's degrees as well. It is at Bluewater where the minimum to teach is just a TEFL.

Can you prove this? Blue water lists that it's teaching staffs qualifications must be degrees & PGCE, which is the legal requirement to teach in the UK & Thailand. I do not see the same at Open Gate.

I am looking for independant opinions but tbh, you seem to have enough of a vested interest at Open Gate to make quite serious accusations about Bluewater & the owner :o

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In fact, just looking at the website & the headmaster cv lists a BSC (hons)

After school he studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, graduating with an Honours Degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics.

Following on from his academic studies he was commissioned into the British Army as an Army Air Corps Officer and served as a Combat Helicopter Pilot for seven years, seeing active service in both Northern Ireland and Iraq.

On retiring from flying duties in the Army, Captain Lees taught both Science and Maths at a highly respected Private School in England and during this time completed his Post Graduate Certificate of Education course gaining the coveted ‘Qualified Teacher Status’. This qualification now enables him to teach any where in the UK and in most countries around the world, including Thailand.

Not quite as you say is it.?

And their website specifically states that only qualified teachers with PGCE (the UK requirement to legally teach in england & wales) which can only be gained after getting a degree, is their minimum.

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In fact, just looking at the website & the headmaster cv lists a BSC (hons)
After school he studied at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, graduating with an Honours Degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics.

Following on from his academic studies he was commissioned into the British Army as an Army Air Corps Officer and served as a Combat Helicopter Pilot for seven years, seeing active service in both Northern Ireland and Iraq.

On retiring from flying duties in the Army, Captain Lees taught both Science and Maths at a highly respected Private School in England and during this time completed his Post Graduate Certificate of Education course gaining the coveted 'Qualified Teacher Status'. This qualification now enables him to teach any where in the UK and in most countries around the world, including Thailand.

Not quite as you say is it.?

And their website specifically states that only qualified teachers with PGCE (the UK requirement to legally teach in england & wales) which can only be gained after getting a degree, is their minimum.

Still very confused and not sure what to chose, it seems very much, six of one and half a dozen of the other. Maybe it is a good thing there are 2 main schools on the island for brits as it does add a bit of competition to the whole thing and both need to prove theirselves, very much a sink or swim competition.

Thanks for all of your help. :o

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The owner of Open Gates is German. He is a German lawyer with a doctorate in law. I would much rather have a very well educated person running a school and directing the teachers than a person who never even attended a university.

I agree. I just wasn't aware that the owner was also the director/principal of the school.

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The owner of Open Gates is German. He is a German lawyer with a doctorate in law. I would much rather have a very well educated person running a school and directing the teachers than a person who never even attended a university. How much respect can a teacher, who has given years of their life to schooling, give their boss if he didn't even have the motivation to finish college himself? I have met Dr. Claus many times and it only takes a few minutes of talking to him to realize that he is passionate about ensuring the highest levels of quality for his students.

All teachers at Open Gates have at least a four year university diploma. Many have master's degrees as well. It is at Bluewater where the minimum to teach is just a TEFL.

As far as the "not look she", I'm sure, as it was the case when I was in school, you have classroom language and then you have out of school (slang) language. I personally know many children that go to Open Gates or have gone and already graduated from Open Gates and their English is excellent, as is their worldly and general knowledge. As I said above, a 12 year old girl just passed her IGCSEs at Open Gates when the normal age for these tests is 16 years old and she is Thai. Many students leave Open Gates and go straight on to university.

Go to Bluewaters open house and double check these facts. Ask them when they are going to be recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education, ask about where the other 2 or 3 rai of land is that they need and all the other hundreds of standards that have to be met. Ask the owner about his own PGCE and how he obtained it and look at the facilities they have. Then go talk to OG and see what facilities their new campus will have, it will dwarf Bluewaters. Look on OG's website at all their teacher's and their qualifications.

These two school are like night and day and Bluewater's candles are getting very low.

I think everyone should bear in mind that this Poster has OBVIOUSLY vested interest in Open Gates as opposed to Bluewater & you don't need to be a Rocket Scoentist to work it out but it should still be noted by all.

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Im thinking of putting my son in a thai-school for the first years when the time comes. Have to say i am pretty impressed by my 8 year old neighbour, a thaiboy, both parents thai and none of them speaks englich at all. The boy goes to the Thai school in ban rak (near the tempel) and already now at 8 year he speaks ok englich to me. Nobody in Sweden speaks Englich when they are 8, thats for sure. And also the already mentioned manners that the Thais learn is something that seems nice. In my country the kids beet up their teachers nowadays, and if the teachers defend themselves the parents call the police and they loose their jobs!

My thoughts now (my son is now only 6 months so i have time to think this over!) is that i will start with the Thai-schools up to maybe 10 years of age, then switch to international scools. At that time we might be living half of the year in Sweden and i understand that with a good international scool (dont know if there is such in samui), you are able to move around. Off course by the time the boy is 12 samui education will not be an option anymore as i understand it?

I suppose that will be a good time to send my son and wife to sweden for some real education, while i move to Brazil and enjoy the fact that i am already well educated. :o

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Off course by the time the boy is 12 samui education will not be an option anymore as i understand it?

In 12 years Samui may have many many suitable schools for a child over 12 but both schools that have been discussed so far take students up till 16 years.

In 12 years there may even be a university on the island, in 12 years you just cannot tell cause 12 years ago there was not one international school on the island & now many are opening their doors :o

As for sending your son to thai school, well if englsih is your only requirement then go ahead, for me it the other things he wont (and some he will) be learning that prevents me from sending my son to a thai govt school but with some degree of home schooling too it could work. You just have to do what you think is best.

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Off course by the time the boy is 12 samui education will not be an option anymore as i understand it?

In 12 years Samui may have many many suitable schools for a child over 12 but both schools that have been discussed so far take students up till 16 years.

In 12 years there may even be a university on the island, in 12 years you just cannot tell cause 12 years ago there was not one international school on the island & now many are opening their doors :o

As for sending your son to thai school, well if englsih is your only requirement then go ahead, for me it the other things he wont (and some he will) be learning that prevents me from sending my son to a thai govt school but with some degree of home schooling too it could work. You just have to do what you think is best.

I agree with most of the things you say boo, post make sence. I do have more requirements than Englich, infact Englich is not even my main requirement when my boy is that young. I somehowe just got the oppinion that up to that age, about 10 years, Thaiboys seem to be smarter than boys in my country. I like him to learn the Thai way, diciplin, respect the elderly and so on. and the practical things aswell. Kids over in Thailand seem to be out and solving things creativly more than in Europe where most kids just play videogames nowadays. However, in my oppinion, kids over 10 years seem to be more stupid for every year. I would like it if the boy whre alble to do something else than climbing coconut palms and cleaning hotelrooms when he is 20. Thats why the thought of leaving samui eventually came up. But like you say, who knows, in 10 years Samui might have a university. Allthough i find that hard to beleive it might be possible off course....

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I hear you mattias, my son is 14 months old & we have the same concerns as you but imo, the thai side of life, manners, customs etc should be taught from the home so that side, for us anyway, is not a requirement in any school we find but I am more concerned about him learning to think & solve problems for himself & not just being told how to fix them. Something I hear contstantly that thai govt schools do not place a lot of importance in. :o

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